My 365 is complete, so, now what?
I will definitely continue this blog. While I don't necessarily love the process of blogging, I certainly have come to appreciate the connection with family, friends, and a really great group of photographer ladies that has come from this blog. Also, I love that when I was working on a "first year" book for Baby A, there were so many "firsts" that I forgot to write down, but had documented on here.
I have been trying to process what I've learned from my 365 and have been asked a few times if I accomplished my goal. Well, yes and no. I did take at least on photo most days ( I know I missed some here and there) for the whole year. It did help learn my camera (the feel and settings). So, really, yes, I did accomplish my goals as stated at the beginning of this blog: documenting our boys/family, connecting through the blog, and improving my photography skills. That last one gets me a bit, though. I didn't necessarily define any specific goals for that one and it's hard to evaluate. So often, as I focus on different technical skills, as I work on one, others slip and I wonder if I've really improved at all in those areas. That said, I do know my focus has improved. My actual, technical ability to have sharp(er) focus in my photos, that is.( Not "focus" as in focus of attention) Also, my knowledge of light and editing has improved.
The single biggest take away from my 365, though, comes back to the beginning (as in all things, I suppose, in the end you go back to the beginning) of why I am trying to learn to take better photos. My boys & our family. The single most stand-out lesson from my 365 is that, for me, my photos don't mean much to me if they don't include anyone I love. I can appreciate pretty light or a pretty scene, but if I can't connect them in some way (a memory of a special time, place, etc) with those I care about, then I don't really care about that photo. After reading my blog on her visit this summer, my aunt asked me what I planned to "do" with my blog/blog photos after my year was up and thought I should make a book or scrapbook them or that I needed to "do something" with them. But, the reality is, a lot of my photos I took because I needed to have a photo for the day, and they don't mean much to me. Were they pointless? No, everytime I photograph something new..new light, a new location, a new/infrequently used lens or focal length, I learn something. I know this technical knowledge will help me in my ulimate goal. But, do I feel a connection to those photos and feel the need to save them to cherish? No.
In light of this, going forward, I want to be more intentional. I have started a photography journal as a place to write notes and inspiration. I have already come up with a few photos of details about the boys I want to remember to capture. I will definitely still have my camera handy and ready to catch impromptu scenes that arise, but I also want to begin to try to capture some of my inspiration images in a planned, intentional way...considering the light, composition, etc and having an "image" in my mind to guide me before I pick up my camera. It's more work and a bit intimidating, but what I've learned over the past year is that without this approach, things I want to document & remember slip through the cracks. This approach is intimidating to me, as so often, I am not able to create the image as I envision it. So....
Another goal is also to be intentional in my practice & learning. I am still working out what this looks like, but I believe it may (ok, probably) involve a class (or more than one, hopefully...eventually), and being purposeful in choosing one technical skill or photography aspect to work on at a time.
Finally, (if you're still with me at this point) what's a photography blog post without a photo? Here's my fav from this week: